Mt Hood

Issued: 6:00 PM PST Tuesday, January 2, 2018
by Dennis D'Amico

NWAC avalanche forecasts apply to backcountry avalanche terrain in the Olympics, Washington Cascades and Mt Hood area. These forecasts do not apply to developed ski areas, avalanche terrain affecting highways and higher terrain on the volcanic peaks above the Cascade crest level.

Shallow wind slabs may linger in wind exposed terrain above treeline. In some areas, firm surface crusts will make for difficult travel conditions so be prepared to self-arrest and think about the sliding hazard before crossing steeper slopes.  

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Avalanche Problems for Wednesday

Wind Slabi

Wind slabs can take up to a week to stabilize. They are confined to lee and cross-loaded terrain features and can be avoided by sticking to sheltered or wind scoured areas.

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Forecast for Wednesday:

After a cloudy start, partly to mostly sunny skies are expected Wednesday afternoon with continued mild temperatures.

Lingering wind slabs should be far less sensitive to triggering on Wednesday and confined to higher terrain. Continue to watch for areas of recently wind transported snow such as fresh cornices, snow drifts, and uneven snow surfaces. Identify and avoid locations where recent wind loading occurred.

Wind slabs can be deceptively difficult to manage in the terrain. Take a moment and read our recent blog post by NWAC Pro Observer Jeremy Allyn on wind slabs.

Small loose wet avalanches are possible in isolated areas on steep solar slopes Wednesday, but will not be listed as an avalanche problem. Be aware of the consequence of even a small loose wet avalanche around terrain traps.  

In some areas, firm surface crusts will make for difficult travel conditions so be prepared to self-arrest and think about the sliding hazard before crossing steep slopes.  

Despite all this new snow, early season hazards still exist. Many creek beds have still not filled in for the winter.

Avalanche Summary:

Mild weather seen Sunday through Tuesday has allowed lingering wind slabs to gain strength. A variety of snow surfaces exist including wind scoured snow, crusts, and likely stubborn to unreactive wind slabs.

A variety of rain and freezing rain crusts are sandwiched  in the upper snowpack depending on elevation. Current observations do not suggest these layers to be reactive.


Snapshot of selected weather stations at Mt. Hood Meadows and Timeberline over the last 5 days. 


An observation submitted through our public observation page continued to show building wind slabs new Timberline Lodge Sunday. These winds slabs were reported as reactive to ski travel.

On Sunday Mt Hood Meadows Patrol reported a breakable crust below treeline. They observed isolated wind slabs and a very firm crust at higher elevations.

On Saturday Mt Hood Meadows Pro Patrol reported a large natural avalanche in Clark Canyon that likely released during Friday's storm. Debris from this avalanche ran into the near treeline elevation band. While the exact depth of the avalanche is unknown, this was a very large natural avalanche.

Photo: Brian Murphy, Mt Hood Meadows Patrol. Avalanche debris in Clark Canyon from a recent very large natural avalanche. Photo taken on 12-31-17.

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available


This Backcountry Avalanche Forecast is provided in conjunction with the US Forest Service, and is intended for personal and recreational purposes only. Safe backcountry travel requires preparation and planning, and this information may be used for planning purposes but does not provide all the information necessary for backcountry travel. Advanced avalanche education is strongly encouraged.

The user acknowledges that it is impossible to accurately predict natural events such as avalanches in every instance, and the accuracy or reliability of the data provided here is not guaranteed in any way. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations will always occur. This forecast expires 24 hours after the posted time unless noted otherwise.